Netflix: Murdaugh Murders digs deep into the case of Alex Murdaugh and his family

Murdaugh Murders - Courtesy Netflix
Murdaugh Murders - Courtesy Netflix /

Netflix docu-series Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal digs right into the true crime investigation that has been all over the news recently. Netflix true crime docs are generally very compelling, and this one is no exception.

Of course, news broke just a few days ago that a jury had found Murdaugh guilty of murdering his wife and son, and just a day later, he was sentenced to life in prison. But, the murders that the Murdaugh family have been implicated in date back to 2015.

Alex Murdaugh is part of a very prominent family in South Carolina. In the time span between 1920 and 2006, three different family members consecutively held the district attorney’s office. As such, the area in which the Murdaughs lived has traditionally been known as “Murdaugh Country,” with Alex able to pull legal strings regularly.

But a life of privilege has resulted in numerous criminal charges for Alex and other family members, including corruption, insurance fraud, drug-related offenses and, of course, murder. With Alex’s trial being so prominent recently, that is what Netflix’s Murdaugh Murders mainly highlights.

The first episode  focuses heavily on the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, which would technically be considered an accident. On February 23, 2019, Alex’s 19-year-old son Paul, his girlfriend Morgan and four of their friends went to a party. Although Paul had drank heavily at the party, he insisted on driving the boat when the group decided to go out on the water.

Murdaugh Murders
Murdaugh Murders – Courtesy Netflix /

While many of the details are fairly well known to those who follow true crime, the three-episode limited series offers something we haven’t been able to see and hear before: interviews with people such as eyewitnesses, surviving family members and friends. The interviews given by Morgan are particularly compelling, as she verbally tries to reconcile the fun-loving Paul she had loved with the abusive, cruel Paul he became at times. She often fights off tears, and you can’t help but feel for her.

In Murdaugh Murders, Paul’s surviving friends stress that he was a belligerent drunk; so different from his usual self that they referred to drunk Paul as “Timmy.” So when the friends tried to get him to allow someone else to drive the boat, he became agitated and ended up crashing into a bridge. Several of the passengers were wounded in the crash, but Mallory was thrown into the water and never resurfaced. Her body was found several days later, and it was discovered that she had died from blunt force head trauma and drowning.

Murdaugh Murders shows the pull Alex Murdaugh had where local law was concerned

Why is this story cited so often when Alex Murdaugh is discussed? The main reason is that it clearly illustrates the hold he had over law enforcement. Despite the fact that Paul’s blood alcohol content was over three times the legal limit, he was never apprehended, given a field sobriety test or even handcuffed. Audio presented in Murdaugh Murders includes Mallory’s boyfriend Anthony yelling at Paul for appearing to smile when the police were questioning the group. Alex and Paul even tried to say that one of the other young men had actually been driving the boat when the accident occurred.

It was during the wrongful death suit filed by Mallory’s family that Alex Murdaugh’s life began unravelling. Financial information indicated that some pretty shady dealings had gone down, and everything spiraled from there.

As Murdaugh Murders shows, there was a lot more that happened before Alex was charged with the shooting murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul. Older son Buster’s friend Stephen was found dead on a Hampton County Road, and although his death was considered to be due to a hit-and-run, there was evidence that it wasn’t the case.

The family’s housekeeper Gloria died after a fall at the home, which appeared to be an accident. Strangely, there was no autopsy and the coroner was never even notified. Her two sons never received the $4 million insurance settlement they were entitled to, and it was later discovered that Alex Murdaugh and two of his attorney friends had taken the money.

All in all, Murdaugh Murders is a fascinating series. If you want to watch it and learn more about the Murdaugh family, you can check the series out on Netflix.

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